How does one use a AAC device engage children? This is one of the most frequently asked questions from parents, educators, and even therapists. On the other hand, children on the spectrum find it challenging to begin learning with a new AAC systems.
Children learn to speak by listening to their parents, siblings, peers, and others around them. Likewise, AAC learners also learn the most in an environment where they can see AAC systems being used during a conversation.
In the long run, an AAC system serves as the voice of a child while also enabling them to learn new skills that are beneficial in the long run.
So, what are some strategies to creatively use AAC systems? Here are some fun-filled ways to encourage learning and improve the use of the device.
Create a Photo Album
A fun way to kick-start your AAC journey would be to create a photo album that contains photos of all your family members with their names. You can also include a family tree to explain to your child about how they are related to each person. You can also use this opportunity to share some stories about the family while talking about each person, their interests and so on.
Favorite TV Shows
Create a list of cartoons, TV shows and web series that your child likes. You can also add their favorite characters. Use these lists as part of daily conversations and as conversation starters.
Extend the conversation by adding the theme song/music or record the voice of the character’s unique catchphrase from each show. This will pique their interest in further conversation. You could also talk about why your child likes that particular character and ask them how they feel when they watch the show.
Favorite Food Items
Nothing makes a person happier than a delicious meal, doesn’t it? 🙂
Come up with a list of your child’s favorite food items and deliberately add one or two items they don’t like. You can start the conversation by choosing one item on the list and talk about how you can prepare the meal together. Add the ingredients, the taste and what your child likes or dislikes about it and so on.
Read a Book Together
For this activity, you might have to do some prework. Pick any storybook. Add a series of images related to the story in the book and arrange them in sequential order.
Once you are done with the prework, sit with your child’s favorite storybook and read it out loud. As each character is introduced, show your child the list of images that were already loaded on the device. Ask them to choose the appropriate image that matches the character. Continue to build on the story in this fashion. As you build the story, you can also include words preloaded on the AAC system to teach core words and more.
Discuss Routines with the AAC Device
Expecting the expected is something most children on the spectrum enjoy. Create a list of daily routines and talk about each activity – the timeline, things required for each activity and so on. For instance, you can set up a timeline of 15 minutes for brushing and include images of toothpaste, brush, water, and other relevant items. This is also an effective way to include a new habit in your child’s routine. Such a technique of practice will enable them to learn the process quickly.
Community learning and idea exchange is the best kind of learning and we are always looking forward to learning from you! You may already be using some creative strategies of your own with great success. Or you may use these ideas as a springboard for some incredibly creative ideas of your own. We’d love to hear about the different ways of using an AAC device and app in a more engaging manner. Share these in the comments below so that our readers from across the world may benefit from the same!
Sharing is caring! Do share this blog post with those who might benefit from these ideas!